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Brake Pads: 4 Signs You Should Replace Your Pads

Brake pads help stop your car when the pads press against your brake disc or brake rotor. Here are four signs you should look for when you need to replace your brake pads:

Four Signs You Should Replace Your Brake Pads

  • Screeching noises when braking

    If you hear loud screeching noises when you are braking, this is your brake pad’s wear indicator telling you that it is time to replace your brake pads. You should consult your mechanic or have someone from NuBrakes inspect your brakes to confirm.

  • Grinding noises when braking

    If you hear grinding noises when you are braking, this means your pads have worn down and you are now hearing your brake rotor and caliper rubbing together. In addition to replacing your brake pads, you may need to replace your rotors as well.

  • Brake pedal or steering wheel shaking

    If your brake pedal or steering wheel is shaking when you brake, this could be due to warped rotors. Warped rotors can be machined or “turned”, but in general, replacing your rotors and pads is better for the overall safety of your vehicle.

  • Brake warning light

    Whenever the dashboard brake indicator light turns on, it means either the hydraulic fluid (brake fluid) in the master cylinder is low, or the parking brake is engaged. If your car leaks too much brake fluid, your brakes could fail. Make sure to consult your mechanic or reach out to NuBrakes to inspect your braking system to confirm.

What Are Brake Pads?

Brake pads are flat pieces of steel with a thick friction material layer that varies based on the vehicle type, size, and brake caliper. The pads are an important part of a vehicle that applies friction and pressure to the brake rotors found behind the wheels to slow and stop a car.

Brake pads undergo extreme stress every time one slows down or stops a vehicle. They get exposed to a lot of friction that generates enormous heat when the two brake pads press down on the single-disc rotor.

How Do Brake Pads Work?

Brake pads press on the vehicle rotors and cause friction to slow and stop the vehicle. They are a part of an interconnected system that relies upon each component to function successfully and safely.

  • When one presses the brake pedal, a cylinder gets activated that sends the brake fluid through the hoses to the calipers of the automobile.
  • The calipers engage the brake pads.
  • The pads then apply pressure and friction to the rotors directly connected to each vehicle wheel.
  • The pressure and friction cause the vehicle and wheels to stop or slow down.
  • When the brake pedal is released, the fluid moves back up to the hoses, and the wheels start moving again.

What Are The 3 Different Types of Brake Pads?

Appropriate brake pads ensure your safety on the road. Here are the 4 types of brake pads to consider:

  • Organic brake pads

    Organic brake pads, also known as non-asbestos organic brake pads, use natural materials like rubber, glass, and resins to make the pads withstand heat and bind the materials. Many organic brake pads use Kevlar since Kevlar does not pollute as it wears off with time and is easier to dispose of.

    Organic brake pads are softer than brake pads made with other materials. However, organic brake pads are not a good option for heavy vehicles as they typically wear faster. Organic brake pads are best suited for small automobiles that do not require aggressive driving.

  • Ceramic brake pads

    Ceramic brake pads are lightweight and offer good braking performance by using filler material, ceramic fibers, bonding agents, and copper fibers. These brake parts dissipate heat after repeated stops and keep the vehicle’s performance strong.

    Ceramic brake pads produce dust that is light in color and does not stick to the wheels. However, they are not for every vehicle type and are expensive. Routinely driven vehicles like sports cars can benefit from these braking pads.

  • Metallic / Semi-metallic brake pads

    Metallic brake pads are composed of copper, iron, steel, and graphite mixed and bonded to form the pad material. They are durable and cost-effective, and most vehicles on the roads today have them. They provide good performance when transferring the friction-generated heat with the brake rotors.

    However, metallic brake pads are heavy and work best when warm. They are vital for stopping heavy vehicles like trucks.

    Semi-metallic brake pads consist of 30% to 60% metal components including materials like wire, copper, and steel wool. They get molded into preset shapes and baked into a furnace for better durability.

    The benefit of semi-metallic brake pads is their robustness, their resistance to heat, and their lower wear on rotors than other brake pads. These brake pads are best suited for high-performance race cars.

What Are The Characteristics To Consider When Selecting Brake Pad Materials?

Here are important characteristics to consider when selecting brake pad materials:

  • The material can resist brake fade caused by high temperature because of the conversion of kinetic energy into thermal energy.
  • The effect of moisture on the brake pad.
  • The brake pad’s ability to recover from increased temperature or moisture.
  • The brake pad’s ability to resist wear because of friction.
  • The pad’s ability to provide an even and smooth contact with the drum or the rotor of the vehicle.
  • The brake pad’s ability to apply appropriate frictional force when operating.
  • The brake pad’s friction coefficient stops the locking of wheels and provides sufficient stopping power.
  • The pad’s ability to compress and be porous which prevents moisture from affecting the friction coefficient.

How Often Should One Get Brake Pads Inspected?

You should get your brake pads inspected every five months or 5,000 miles. However, the manufacturer’s guidelines will give a proper suggestion for your specific vehicle. Contact us to get a quote if you hear squeaking, squealing, or grinding sounds or see the brake warning lights on.


Brake parts are a significant part of a vehicle’s braking system since they slow down vehicles. However, it is important to get them inspected and repaired in time to ensure the smooth functioning of the vehicle.

If you are looking for brake inspection and repair, visit NuBrakes and speak to our professionals to get a brake service quote within minutes. Our technicians come to you so you can choose a repair date and time that works best for your schedule.


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